TailoreMade: Bringing the designer to your doorstepNeha Jain
This Mumbai-based startup provides hassle-free tailoring service through its app. Now you don’t have to worry about fabrics, measurements or getting the perfect fit
We have all heard stories of how the resident ‘darziwalle’ uncle used to make frequent visits to our homes. He would take measurements, understand personal styles and ensure the right fit. He was go-to for all our tailoring requirements.
However, with the onset of the 90s and globalisation taking centre-stage, ready-made garments became popular. While they attract a large number of Indian consumers, the small tailoring shops are still there, catering to those for whom style, cuts and fit matter.
Filling a need
TailoreMade was largely inspired by the success of Uber (cab aggregator) who has transformed the cab industry and helped drivers get a new source of income. They wanted to replicate this model in the custom-made clothing industry.
How does it work? TailoreMade provides a centralised platform through its app on Android and iOS, that allows consumers to receive any kind of tailoring service, from small alterations to designer clothing with just a few clicks.
TailoreMade was founded by Asif Kamal (27), an Indian businessman based in Dubai. He is also the founder of Dubai-based Alturaash Art Gallery that promotes modern and contemporary art. He also works in his father’s textile business. TailorMade began operations this year and is bootstrapped.
Asif says, “I come from a family that manufactures, and exports readymade garments globally. Since I have knowledge of the business I came up with the idea of providing real-time tailoring services using an app.”
He soon moved to India to test the app in Mumbai. “I decided to stay here and build my team. I knew from day one that India would be the launch pad for the TailoreMade app; and hopefully, from here I can take it other countries,” he says.
Finding the right people
Asif’s background in the textile industry helped him face the challenges that usually crop up while starting a new business. One of them was finding skilled tailors in an industry that is highly unorganised. Getting the best, yet economical tailors on the platform was a huge problem. However, his experience paid off, and he was able to bring the best to the TailoreMade platform. The startup received 500 applications out of which 85 were chosen as tailor partners.
The rest of Asif’s team comprise professionals with experience in the garment industry. He only brought on board people who understood fashion, fit and trends and had the ability to understand the customer base and their preferences when it came to sizes, colours, fabrics, etc.
He has a team of eight employees handling operations in Mumbai. They also have a small team in Delhi that handles the technological aspect of the business.
How does it work?
Users can place a request for an appropriate date and time for collection of unstitched fabric and measurements. Following which, an executive from TailoreMade collects the fabric and other data and gives it to the nearby tailor. This ensures personalised attention, as the executive enters the premises of the customer, facilitating a face-to-face meeting.
The team also ensures that women executives are sent to meet women customers so that they feel comfortable. These executives are generally trained tailors thus making it easier to take measurements.
The tailor in the neighbourhood, in turn, receives the request from the executive on the app. The orders are distributed on the basis of the location of the order and that of the tailor.
The companion or executive app will display the list of tailors for a particular order based on the location of the customer, where the order was picked up from. This app also handles pickup, drop off and follow-up.
TailoreMade claims to have 12 executives across Mumbai and has served over 120 customers. The average ticket size of an order is Rs 900. They work on a discounted pay model with their vendors (i,e tailors) with tailors giving TailoreMade a discount of 30 percent for every lead generated. Along with that, they hope to make bigger profits from their TMStyleShop variant. Over 700 people have downloaded the app on their Android or iOS platforms. They have an Android rating of 4.5 and 5-star rating in the iOS version of the app.
Others in the game
The need for on-demand tech tailors seems to be on the rise. Several players like Urban tailor, fabstitch, designeroncall, stitchmyfabric, Bespoke Fashion Entrepreneurs and the Bombay Shirt Company, focus on customised clothing.
According to Vidya Nataraj, Founder of bespoke garments company Tailorman, the $15-billion industry is not without risks as it is highly fragmented. India Retailing pegs the custom-made clothing segment at a more modest $8 billion, or 20 percent of the market share.
The other 80 percent belongs to the ready-to-wear category. However, even at mere a 20 percent, the multi-billion
dollar industry is poised to grow at 5.5 percent per annum and significantly disrupts the trends of the fashion industry in India.
Setting a trend
What sets TailorMade apart is the Uber-like model. Asif also adds that it gives the user ease of ordering a complete custom fit clothing range. The app has unique features where one can get the outfit ready in four steps. The first is placing the request, followed by taking measurements, payment and finally delivery.
The users are also updated about latest trends via the app. They can shop for these trendy clothes after providing them with the exact measurements.
The app includes TMStyleShop, an e-commerce portal where the designs are pre-set and the customer has to only provide them with the measurements. Asif says, “With TMStyleShop they can experience customised shopping without worrying about the perfect fit.”
In the near future, they plan to expand their services to other Indian cities like Delhi, Pune and Bengaluru and add more brands/designers to TMStyleShop. The aim is also to go global, with launches planned in London, Dubai and Singapore.